SCI-213: Learning by Inquiry: Life Science

Science, Technology, Engineering & Math
Science Education
Academic Level
Course Subject
Course Number
Course Title
Learning by Inquiry: Life Science
Credit Hours
Instructor Contact Hours Per Semester
62.00 (for 15-week classes)
Student Contact Hours Per Semester
62.00 (for 15-week classes)
Grading Method
Catalog Course Description

An inquiry based course covering the necessary tools, knowledge, and motivation to teach basic biological concepts. Topics include how to integrate major biological themes, and how the topics covered in the course fulfill the National Science Education Standards. At least one field trip is required. Two combined classroom/lab sessions per week.

Goals, Topics, and Objectives

Core Course Topics
  1. Characteristics of Life
    • Design age-appropriate modules that would be accessible to K-12 age students, and that would help them understand the difference between living and nonliving things.
  2. Cell Structure and function
    • Diagram various types of cells.
    • Discuss the function of various cell components.
  3. Habitats
    • Explain the scientific definition of a habitat.
    • Analyze the components of a habitat.
    • Assess how organisms in a particular habitat are adapted to it.
  4. Human impact on the environment
    • Evaluate current controversies surrounding human environmental impact.
    • Design exercises that would allow K-12 age students to understand how scientists measure environmental change.
  5. Photosynthesis
    • Explain the role of photosynthetic organisms in the global food web.
    • Design experiments showing how photosynthesis works.
  6. Food chains and food webs
    • Describe how energy is transferred in food chains and webs.
    • Design a project in which K-12 students would find and analyze examples of how humans have altered food chains and webs.
  7. Community relationships
    • Explain the components of a biological community and how they are interconnected.
  8. Life cycles
    • Evaluate the differences between several types of life cycles.
    • Design an experiment appropriate for K-12 students that tests how well an organism's life cycle is adapted to its habitat.
  9. Genetics
    • Evaluate the roles of genes, chromosomes, DNA, and amino acids in determining an organism's physical characteristics.
  10. Evolution
    • Discuss what evolution is and is not.
    • Design experiments in which students can observe evolution's effects on a population.
  11. Natural Selection
    • Explain why natural selection is a passive, rather than an active, process.
    • Design an exercise, appropriate for K-12 students, showing how natural selection works.
  12. Classification of organisms
    • Explain the importance of a standard biological nomenclature system.
    • Assess an organism's traits in order to determine the appropriate classification.
  13. Digestion & excretion
    • Explain the differences between the digestive and excretory systems of various types of animals.
  14. Animal and plant transport systems
    • Evaluate the differences between animal and plant transport systems.
    • Diagram a typical transport system for an animal and for a plant.
  15. Circulatory systems
    • Analyze the components of animal and plant circulatory systems.
    • Design an experiment that shows how a circulatory system works.
  16. Gas exchange in animals
    • Design an experiment that illustrates gas exchange through a membrane.
    • Explain how gas exchange works.
    • Discuss why gas exchange is important for life systems.
  17. Reproductive strategies
    • Analyze various reproductive strategies for plants and animals.
    • Explain how a given strategy increases the chance for a lineage to survive.
General Information

During this course, students will:

  • Design and publish a web e-portfolio. Each student is required to document his/her acquisition of the science content and methods necessary to effectively teach science to elementary and middle school students. The work will be displayed on the World Wide Web in the form of an e-portfolio. The work will also be saved to a flash drive for future reference.
  • Accompany the instructor on a field trip to learn about plants, animals and ecology.
  • Teach a scientific concept for an elementary or middle school classroom using an original power point.
  • Demonstrate critical thinking skills by performing scientific experiments.
  • Demonstrate that they can learn by the inquiry method.

Assessment and Requirements

Assessment of Academic Achievement

Students will be evaluated both objectively and subjectively based on examinations, quizzes, homework assignments, lab exercises and experimental design.


General Education Categories
  • Natural Sciences
Institutional Outcomes
  • Scientific Reasoning
MTA Categories
  • Category 6.1: Natural Sciences

Approval Dates

Effective Term
Fall 2019
ILT Approval Date
AALC Approval Date
Curriculum Committee Approval Date